Ya'akov (James) 1:17
As I brushed blue paint onto my 15 month old daughter's tiny palm this morning to make a handprint, I realized something very profound. I know that I have read or heard someone mention this before, but it's one thing to hear something from someone else, and a whole other thing for G-d to reveal it to you in the moment and bring you to tears. Having a child of my own has opened up so many more opportunities for those 'teachable moments' that G-d works into daily life.
My daughter is not yet old enough to color me a picture or build me something out of popsicle sticks, but I know that time is coming soon! Nevertheless, I have begun personalizing gifts/cards to others with her handprint, which is the only signature she is capable of right now. I look forward to receiving that first handmade gift from Elisheva, whether it's a few scribbles on a wadded up piece of construction paper or a gluey mess of pasta and cotton balls doesn't matter. Having the pleasure of babysitting and working with little ones, I have seen many children present these "gifts" to their parents, and it is a thrilling experience for them (and their parents are good at pretending it is for them, too!) The parents' usual exclamations are something along the lines of "Wow, you made this for me?" or "This is beautiful!" Not once have I heard a parent say, "Whoa, that is ugly. What is it supposed to be?" or "Is this what I'm paying hundreds of dollars a week for, for you to paste some garbage on a 5 cent piece of paper?" Have you?
The next time your child hands you a wrinkled piece of paper that weighs 2 pounds because it contains half a bottle of the glue that you paid for, tissue paper from your birthday gift, and the tri-color pasta from your pantry, think about this: We offer the same gifts to our G-d. As our heavenly Father, is He a worse parent than any of us? When we come to Him with our dirty, little hands open wide to offer Him something we bought with His money, something we created with His inspiration, something we accomplished with the talent that He gave us, is He going to take one look and say, "That is one ugly piece of junk!"? Certainly not! He will surely treasure it as any parent treasures the artwork and crafts made by their children.
I am certainly grateful to be reminded of this today, and grateful for all the people in my life that G-d has taught me this lesson through, most recently, my little girl. Perhaps you needed to be reminded of this as well. G-d has graciously given us all gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Don't be afraid to offer them back to Him unashamedly and with your whole heart. He won't throw it away or reject it, and there's always room on His refrigerator for one more....